Marilyn Monroe

When: 1952-62 Sex symbolism: Practically from the word go -- or at least from the time she decided to give up the name Norma Jeanne Baker -- Monroe became associated in the public imagination more with sex than simple movie stardom. To wit: In 1953, just as her career in film was getting off the ground, a nude photo of the burgeoning bombshell was featured in the first issue of Playboy magazine. Although Monroe cemented her status as one of the all-time screen icon in films such as "The Seven Year Itch," "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "How to Marry a Millionaire," her screen persona cohered around the "dumb blond" persona she'd adopted early on; it stuck. Right up until her untimely death in 1962 she continued to pose nude (famously for photographer Bert Stern in Vogue) and reflect on her status as a "star" and "sex symbol."
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